Blood drive Thursday in Greenville for son of Sulphur Springs couple

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 8, 2008 - A blood drive is being hosted Thursday to benefit Matthew Virgel, who has been undergoing treatments for lymphoma since December 2007 and in the next few weeks will require a bone marrow transplant.

Matthew Virgel, son of Terry and Vicki Virgel of Sulphur Springs and Shaunda and Joe Knight of Greenville, is a 22-year-old college student who works at Family Fellowship Church in Greenville where the blood drive will be held.

He is the grandson of Dean and Joanne Harrison of Greenville, and Pete and Patricia Virgel, and Jackie and Mary Boles, all of Sulphur Springs.

He studied at Jacksonville and has since transferred to a Christian college in Dallas, where he's been studying to be a youth minister, according to Patricia Virgel.

Although he's been in the hospital about 90 percent of his time since last December, Matthew Virgel has continued to enroll in and do as much course work as possible.

After being diagnosed around Christmas of 2007, Matthew Virgel was treated first at Presbyterian Hospital in Greenville, where he lives, then at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. He's undergone numerous treatments including a stem cell placement which failed and numerous blood transfusions. At one point he was able to go home, but the cancer came back and the treatment resumed.

Until recently, Matthew was staying either at the hospital or at an apartment near Baylor while receiving treatments. He is currently at home, with reports of improved blood counts and of him feeling somewhat better, but he still will have to undergo a bone marrow transplant in the next few weeks. Normally, a family member would be the ideal match for bone marrow. Screenings revealed there to be no exact matches, but that his father is the closest match.

While blood will be collected Thursday during the blood drive and credited to Matthew Virgel, those who opt to do so can be screened and have bone marrow extracted. The marrow would not necessarily go to Virgel, but would go into the registry for anyone who might need it. Those donating marrow will be assessed a $25 fee for the procedure, according to Patricia Virgel.

"We hope to get a close match. If not he will need his dad's. No one in the family is an exact match," she said.

The blood drive will be held Thursday, Oct. 9, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Family Fellowship Church in Greenville, located at 401 Division St. To find the church, take Interstate 30 west and turn right onto exit 95 in Greenville, then look for the big church just off the I-30 exit.

Older Archives

Looking for News-Telegram Sports and News Archives for January 2004 - November 2008